Home / Tech / Former Apple retail chief Angela Ahrendts has joined Airbnb's board of directors

Former Apple retail chief Angela Ahrendts has joined Airbnb's board of directors

Angela Ahrendts

  • Apple’s former retail chief Angela Ahrendts is joining Airbnb’s board of directors, the company announced on Thursday.
  • Ahrendts departed Apple in April for “new personal and professional pursuits.”
  • This is Ahrendts’ first big professional move since ending her five-year run at Apple. 

Former Apple retail chief Angela Ahrendts has joined Airbnb’s board of directors, the travel booking firm announced on Thursday. It marks her first professional move since departing Apple in April.

Ahrendts is joining Airbnb as the company’s third independent non-affiliated board member along with outgoing American Express CEO Ken Chenault and former Pixar chief financial officer Ann Mather. When describing what Ahrendts brings to the company, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky cited her track record of “redefining the retail experience” and “putting customers and communities first” in a statement issued in a press release. Ahrendts also said she has “a deep admiration and respect” for the Airbnb founders’ vision.

“I am elated by the opportunity to join Airbnb’s Board of Directors at this important phase on the incredible journey of the company and its community of hosts and guests,” Ahrendts said in a press release. “I have known Brian, Joe and Nate for years and have a deep admiration and respect for their vision, purpose and the positive impact they want Airbnb to make in communities all around the world.”

Apple announced in February that Ahrendts would leave the company in April for “new personal and professional pursuits.” It appointed longtime human resources executive Deirdre O’Brien as senior vice president of People + Retail, a new role that would encompass the taking over of Ahrendts’ responsibilities for the company’s online and retail stores.

Apple did not elaborate further on the reason behind Ahrendts’ departure. But a recent report from Bloomberg suggested that Apple Store employees had felt that the company’s retail chain had slumped in recent years under Ahrendts’ leadership and aren’t as efficient at serving customers as they once were. 

Ahrendts recently spoke with LinkedIn’s Jessi Hempel about her time at Apple and the lessons she learned while working there. “What I’ve learned from them after I hit 140 stores is never forget where you came from, and use that as your foundation,” she said.

Ahrendts joined Apple in 2013 just before the Apple Watch’s debut after serving as the CEO of Burberry for eight years. With a total compensation of $26.5 million in 2018, she was one of the company’s highest-paid executives.

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